A psychological disorder or mental disorder is a pattern of psychological or behavioral symptoms that can and usually do impact various areas of the life and/or create distress of a person that experiences symptoms. Schizophrenia, Depression, Mania, Anxiety disorder, and Tourette syndrome are all types of these disorders. Schizophrenia, a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought (as delusions), perception (as hallucinations), and behavior —called also dementia praecox (“Schizophrenia,” 2013). Contrary to some popular belief, schizophrenia isn’t split personality or multiple personality. The word “schizophrenia” does mean “split mind,” but it refers to a disruption of the usual balance of emotions and thinking. Usually with schizophrenia, the person’s inner world and behavior change radically. Behavior changes might include the following: • Social withdrawal
• Depersonalization (a sense of being unreal, hazy and in a dreamlike state), sometimes accompanied by intense anxiety • Loss of appetite
• Loss of hygiene
• Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there) • The sense of being controlled by outside forces
• Disorganized speech
A person with schizophrenia does not always have outward signs of being ill. In other cases, it can present in a more obvious way, causing bizarre behaviors. Patients may also experience relatively passive times during the illness in which they seem to lack personality, movement, and emotion (also called a flat affect). Schizophrenia treatment involves medications and therapy to reduce the risk of future psychotic episodes and improve the patient’s life. Treatments for schizophrenia include but not limited to antipsychotic medication like, chlorpromazine, haloperidol, perphenazine, and fluphenazide. Each of the medications have side effects that could include drowsiness, blurred vision, sensitivity to the sun, and skin rashes. It’s not known what causes schizophrenia, however researchers feel that it is a combination of genetics and environmental issues that contribute to development of the disease. Imbalances with certain naturally occurring brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate, also may have a link to schizophrenia. Neuro-imaging studies have shown the differences in the brain structure and central nervous system of people with schizophrenia. While researchers aren’t positive what the significance of these changes are, they support strong evidence that schizophrenia is a brain disease.
Depression is a mental illness, but it also can affect the body as well as the mind. Being unable to fall asleep or staying asleep can also be a symptom of depression. This symptom is common in people who are depressed. Others with depression may find that they sleep too much. Chest pains can be a sign of a heart or lung problem but can also be a sign of depression. There’s also a link between depression and heart disease. Exhaustion or lack of energy for everyday tasks may also be a sign of depression. Often depression and fatigue feed off each other creating a vicious cycle. Living with chronic pain can also increase risks of depression. And in turn depression itself can lead to pain because the two conditions share chemical messengers in the brain. Stomach issues, changes in appetite, headaches, weight loss or gain, back pain. Depression can be divided into two categories, depression that is triggered by a negative experience or “reactive depression” and depression that has no apparent trigger or “endogenous depression”. One of the many treatments that is used to help with depression is antidepressant medication that work by changing the balance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
In people with depression, these chemicals do not function properly in the brain. In general, antidepressants are highly effective, especially when used along with psychotherapy. Most patients on antidepressants eventually feel improvements in symptoms such as sadness, loss of interest, and hopelessness, however the medications do not work right away. It can take from one to three weeks before you start to feel better and even longer before you feel the full benefit. Treating with psychotherapy while also taking antidepressants is thought to be the most effective way to treat depression. Tourette syndrome is known for involuntary movement such as tics and that tics can vary between body movements as well as vocal tics. They can as involuntary eye blinking to more noticeable such as yelling obscene language. Little is known as the cause for Tourette however there is speculation that the limbic cortex, association cortex and thalamus are connected to the disorder. (Pinel, 2011) Since the cause is still a mystery there is as of yet, no cure for Tourette. However through counseling, relaxation therapy and sometimes even hypnosis, it can help in treating the disorder.
Anxiety disorder is when worry and fear interfere with s person’s ability to function normally. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 18% of adults, according to leading specialists in anxiety treatment. Many factors can cause anxiety, including mental conditions as well as external factors like personal finances or marital problems. Anxiety can interfere with your sleep and your ability to think straight. A person can feel irritable due to poor sleep or even the illness itself. Body problems usually come along with the excess worry. They can include muscle tension or pain, headaches, nausea or diarrhea and even trembling. Diagnosis is done based on your symptoms, so the patient needs to be specific when speaking with physician about their anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is very effective in treating anxiety. A therapist will help to identify negative thoughts and actions; it can also include homework, such as writing down the things that make you worry. Learning mediation and calming exercises can also help. Eventually it is feasible to feel better around three to four months. A combination of medicine and therapy works the best.
Some of the more common antidepressant drugs that help to lower anxiety are Cymbalta, Effexor XR, Lexapro, and Paxil. Bipolar disorder is an illness that causes extreme mood changes from manic episodes of very high energy to the extreme lows of depression. It is also called manic-depressive disorder. This illness can cause behavior so extreme that you cannot function at work, in family or social situations, or in relationships with others. Some can even become suicidal. It can cause feelings of helpless and hopelessness. The cause of bipolar disorder/maniac depression is not yet entirely understood. It does run in families, it might also be affected by environment or family situations. Another cause is possibly an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Symptoms range from the mood swings. In a manic episode, the patient can feel very happy, energetic, or edgy not feeling a need for sleep and overly self-confident. People show little or no control over their actions, taking risks with money and behavior during these manic episodes.
Sometimes patients return to their normal self other times they may go into deep sadness, depression, and hopelessness. One of the most important parts of dealing with a manic episode is recognizing the early warning signs so that you can start treatment early with medicine that is especially for manic phases. Many medicines are used to treat bipolar disorder, mood stabilizer every day. Medicines called antipsychotics can help get a manic phase under control. Sometimes antidepressants are also used but this has to be done carefully during episodes of depression, because they can also cause some to move into a manic phase. In conclusion, psychiatric disorders vary. Schizophrenia affects the brain and causes hallucinations. Emotional disorders will affect a person’s mood in extreme ways. Anxiety disorders can cause extreme fear and add health issues. Tourette cause tics in personality and body language. As we continue to move forward in scientific research we will find new ways of effectively treating each disorder, helping those affected to live more balanced and healthy lives.
Schizophrenia. (2013). In Dictionary and Thsaurus – Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com
Pinel, J. P. (2011). Biopsychology [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. : Allyn & Bacon. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, PSY 240 website.
WebMD. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-patient-education-center
Varcarolis RN MA, E. M., & Halter PhD PMHCNS, M. J. (2010). Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing: A Clinical Approach, 6e [ (6th ed.). : Saunders.